Jimmy Kimmel celebrates Don Rickles' life with tearful tribute
"I’ll tell you right up front that I’m going to cry, probably a lot."
"This is not going to be our usual show tonight," Jimmy Kimmel made clear on Thursday night, hours after renown insult comic Don Rickles died at the age of 90.
"I'll tell you right up front that I'm going to cry, probably a lot, which is embarrassing," he continued, already tearing up. "But I'm not good with this sort of thing and I'm sorry, especially to those of you who came here to see the show in person because that's probably not what you came for, but we lost someone that we and I love very much today."
The late-night host recalled some of his favorite moments of Rickles, like his jokes about Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson, getting to know him and his wife, Barbara, and Kimmel's own interview with the comedian on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2006.
"It was so exciting," he said. "I felt like I was in some kind of talk show host fantasy camp. Sitting behind a desk while Don Rickles made fun of me. It was like being a real talk show host for a minute. For twenty minutes, it was like being Johnny Carson."
Before screening a tribute video of all of Rickles' appearances on the show, Kimmel added, "There will never be another Don Rickles. He was probably the greatest talk-show guest of all time."
After news broke of Rickles' death from kidney failure, Kimmel tweeted, "90 years with Don Rickles weren't enough. One of the sweetest and most lovely people I had the pleasure of knowing. We miss you already."
Kimmel's guest, Adam Sandler, also had wonderful things to say about Rickles. "He was just the greatest guy. I mean, you really got to be tight with him. I had like hit and run, and I mean I worshiped the guy, too, because my father worshiped him," he said.
He remembered a time when he met Rickles while out to dinner with Steve Buscemi more than 20 years ago. "He says to Buscemi, something like… ‘I saw your movie, Mr. Pink, more like Mr. Stink," Netflix's Sandy Wexler star said. "Buscemi's like, ‘Ahh,' laughing, and [Rickles] laughs and he goes, ‘Ooo, maybe get some braces."
Rickles also swung a few jabs at Sandler, too, remarking, "Amazing how no talent can get you a movie."
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